The deadlift is often considered the pinnacle of bodybuilding, and it is hard to argue with that. Apart from being a complete exercise, deadlifting is also a show of pure strength. But often, amateurs attempt it without learning the right deadlift technique and end up hurting themselves. So, let’s first learn how to deadlift properly from the ultimate beginner’s guide.
Getting the right Deadlifting technique
Here is a golden rule: deadlift form is everything. If you want to ace deadlifting, you need to first learn the proper way to deadlift.
- Stance: Your legs must not be wide. Your arms must be outside your legs so that they don’t scrape against each other.
- Feet: The bar must be set at the middle of your feet, which aligns with your center of mass. Any further from that could misbalance you. Setting the bar closer may hit the shins while lifting.
- Grip: A double-overhand grip is considered standard for deadlifting. A problem with it is that the bar tries to roll out of your hands. To solve it, use your thumb and apply chalk on the hands. Gloves are not advised for serious dead lifters. The mixed grip allows pulling more weight but can cause muscle imbalance and strain.
- Arms: Arms must be kept straight throughout a proper deadlift. Beginning with loose arms can cause muscle tear. Loosening arms at any point during the deadlift can cause greater damage.
- Hips: Your hips must form a 45-degree angle with your back and thighs. Remember, your chest leads the deadlifts, not your hips.
- Knees: The knees should be slightly bent when you are preparing to deadlift. Once you are at the peak position, the knees must be locked.
- Back: Your back plays a crucial role in deadlifts. It must be straight without any bend. Bending the back in either of two directions (hyperextension or lowering) will only lead to injuries.
- Head: Your head, like your back, must also be straight in its neutral position. Looking up or even looking forward can cause great strain on the neck. The head must look down, around 2 steps ahead of the bar.
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Now, let’s come to the actual procedure for deadlifting. Bear in mind, the following steps assume that you are obeying the rules of the deadlifting form mentioned above.
Step 1: Reach towards the barbell. Spread your feet at the hips’ width. Your toes must be slightly raised.
Step 2: Bend down and form a grip on the barbell at shoulder’s width. Bend the knees until your shins come into contact with the bar.
Step 3: Keep the bar in place and your arms straight. Flex your buttocks and brace your stomach for the incoming impact, just before the next step.
Step 4: Straighten your back by only raising your chest. Rest of the stance must remain unchanged and firmly in position.
Step 5: Lift the weight up until your back is completely straight. Get your knees in a lockdown – do not bend them.
Step 6: Slowly unlock your hips, followed by your knees.
Step 7: Lower your back and knees, and slowly carry the weights to the ground.
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Once we know what to do, we should also learn what NOT to do. Deadlifting, as awesome as it is, can also be quite dangerous. Here are some deadlift tips to avoid injuries at all costs:
- Don’t look at yourself while deadlifting in the mirrors. Mirrors, either front or side-ways, would force you to move your neck which could cause injury. The best way is to record of video of it and watch later.
- Dropping the weight once deadlifting is over seems like a cool thing to do, but let’s avoid it. Apart from traditional reasons, dropping such large weights in a wrong way can injure your feet or damage the floor.
- It is tempting to perform squats with the weight, but NO. As mentioned earlier, deadlifting properly involves heavy weights which can put a severe strain on your back if not carried properly.
- Do not perform any extra exercise like shrugs while deadlifting. It might not seem so, but deadlifting is a complete exercise on its own. Your legs, back, traps and arms – all work together in it.
(Note: You can find a more detailed list of FAQs here)
Deadlifting is awesome and nothing can change that. But deadlifting with the right technique is actually the only way to go about that. Stay safe, and lift hard!